We found this moth in October 2013. It seemed quite willing to sit still while we photographed it. Since then, I’ve been trying to work out the species. Most of the moth identification websites I’ve found seem to be organised around the scientific names of species, so if (like me) you don’t know what you’re looking for, the only way to proceed is by digging down, one link at a time. A quite time-consuming and frustrating process because there seem to be hundreds or even thousands of moth species in Australia. In the end, I set the photos aside, intending to come back to them.
This morning I was looking at Museum Victoria’s field guide app, ‘Field Guide to Victorian Fauna‘ and I thought I would have a casual glance through the moth section. Eureka! There it was!
The Granny Moth is also known as the Old Lady Moth and the Southern Old Lady. This seems to be because the pattern on the wings resembles a shawl.
According to the Museum’s notes, they fly from September to April, and like to hide in dark areas around houses to avoid the light and heat of the day. One of the popular places to find them is behind curtains, and from memory, that is where we found ours.
These moths are large – their wingspan can be as wide as 9 cm. I can’t precisely remember how large ours was but I would guess that it was full size. It was partly the size of the moth that caught our attention. Our Granny Moth looked a bit battered, so I’m not sure if that was a result of brushing up against the curtains, interference from the cats (although the wings don’t seem torn) or just natural wear and tear. We didn’t touch the wings.
In September, when they are due to appear, I will keep my eye out for more Granny Moths, they’re certainly eye-catching.